The Joy of Childhood

She just turned 26 months old.  I know I’m not supposed to do that anymore, you know, count her months.  But I’m just going to make my own rules up as I go.  Time is too precious to just cast it aside and not see every moment for the treasure that it is.

Guess what we did today?

We built a snowman.  Not a real snowman of course.   It’s actually a blustery, warm spring day, not a flake in sight,  but it was her first day to watch the movie Frozen.  Afterwards, she asked if I wanted to build a snowman with her.  “Come on,” she said patting her thigh as if calling a dog,  so of course I did.

She is such a joy.  So smart.  She pretends and plays make-believe all day long.  One minute she’s Cinderella, forcibly kicking off her plastic dress up shoe and saying she better get in her carriage while running to sit in her pink Barbie Jeep, and the next minute she is pouring tea for me and adding spoonfuls of sugar.  She goes on Bear Hunts and squelch-squearches through the mud and peels pinecones apart declaring they are surprise eggs and wonders what’s inside.

We built our snowman today with a carrot nose made from a blue piece of wire found in the yard and two eyes and arms she stuck in the ground.

Her shoes were on the wrong feet, chocolate smudged her lips.

Her dog-ears had long since lost their snugness and flopped haphazardly.

She searched for crickets and got scared by something and ran to my side.

I lay in the grass just watching her and feeling filled to the measure with happiness and joy that she is mine.

Our days are filled with magical make-believe, chocolate kisses and snowmen fashioned from dirt.

It’s been a very long time since my own childhood, but I can vividly remember the games I played with my own imagination.  How magical my world of pretend was.

Watching EK grow and play in this same make-believe way takes me to a place I used to know.  It reawakens a child I used to be.  I remember care-free days where nothing really mattered.

And now all that truly matters is that this little dog-eared 2-year-old (ahem……26 month old) who brings me such joy.

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There is a row of bare bushes that line the side of our property. They sit in a strong straight row bumping their branches into one another, housing nests of birds, and toying with my emotions.

I think, hope, wish, and pray that they are lilac bushes. As we begin our second spring here in this beautiful place, maybe my wish will come true.

Last spring I anticipated their blooms. I imagined the smell of the hundreds of lilacs merging together. My intent was to snip the fresh bouquets and place them everywhere in the house: the kitchen windowsill, the fireplace mantle, the bedside table.

I have such a fondness to lilacs that transports me to my grandmothers house, doesn’t everything of fondness remind us of our grannies?

My plans, like so many others, didn’t come to fruition when a late freeze killed the tiny, purple clustered blooms.

So here we are on the cusp of another possible lilac explosion and I’m remaining optimistic. I awoke this morning to a snowy frost hanging thick on all the trees including these massive 10 feet tall bushes. I immediately checked the temp and saw it dropped to 28 degrees. It didn’t stay cold long into the day and in fact as I sit outside soaking some rays and blogging, I just may have a slightly red chest; the sun is so warm.

I’m hoping for two things: 1) last nights cold wasn’t harsh enough to kill them 2)there won’t be another freeze this season. Okay 3 things: 3) they truly are lilac bushes.

I’m afraid my disappointment will be too great otherwise.

If you are one who possesses a green thumb and recognize these plants, maybe you can let me know.

I’m hoping for a house filled with vases upon vases of purple!




My late grandmother, who lived to the ripe old age of 98 and died peacefully in her own home, who was tougher than anyone I’ll ever meet, who my dad actually said he was scared of when he first started dating my mom, who drove too fast and loved others too deep, who always offered to feed you and do your laundry when you visited, that same grandmother had a sign hanging in her kitchen that read, GETTING OLD AIN’T FOR SISSIES.

I don’t know where she got it.  It wasn’t even a sign really, but a photocopied, yellowed, piece of paper with the edges curling up that someone had printed out for her.  It was cute to see it thumbtacked to her wall along with and next to scriptures and framed cross-stitch patterns.

I’ve been thinking of her a lot and her particular sign since Monday when I turned 39 years old.  The date rolled over on the calendar and I met it willingly.  I’m not one to fuss over getting older.  I’m not going to stay 29 forever or even 39 forever.  I’m going to shout out my age to anyone who wants to know.  There are so many who don’t get the privilege to grow older, who die young,  that we should celebrate every year we’re given.  Personally, I had been looking forward to my birthday because it was one year closer to my forties and my forties will be fabulous.  I am actually ready to embrace my forties.

However, as my birthday progressed I began to feel poorly.  EK had been fighting a fever for the past couple of days prior and then Ashlynn was struck down with some sort of vile illness of the kind which had her writhing and moaning.  I almost thought I should skip the doctor and the mortuary and just drop her off at the cemetery to save some money.  I spent my day running a small infirmary, wiping snot and making potato soup and the likes.  By the time I crawled into bed, I was wiped out and hit hard with something myself. Honestly, I need a do-over on my birthday.



Tuesday I was worse.  But I am on occasion an optimist and I hoped that Wednesday would find me whole again.  I arose and said my healthy affirmations.  I am happy, healthy, and alive.  Every cell in my body is filled with health.   But as you can see, here it is Friday and I’m still down with the funk.  Although no one has yet to bring ME a kleenex or a bowl of soup.  What is up with that?  There’s a hammering in my ears so strong now that I don’t even know if anything I’m typing is making sense.

In order to whip what I believe is a viral infection that a doctor can do nothing for, speed it along, and try to find some relief at the same time, the last few days I have tried a variety of homeopathic, home remedies here at home, and a few over the counter ones, including but not limited to herbal teas, gargling salt water, pain relievers, cold relievers, allergy relievers, humidifiers, Vicks Vapor rub, honey, ginger, cinnamon, garlic!!!!

GARLIC!  I put an entire clove of garlic (cut in two—-a piece in each cheek) and sucked on it like a lozenge for like an hour. And I’m here to tell you, sucking on garlic for nearly an hour AIN’T FOR SISSIES!  (Neither is living with someone who sucked on a garlic clove for an hour, my family would like to add).

The remedy list continues:  oil pulling, yoga, lymphatic massage,  thymus thumping (think of a gorilla beating his chest), vitamins, sitting in the sun, exercise to sweat it out,  hot showers with steam, lozenges, alka seltzer, calling on my facebook prayer warriors to pray and my momma too, and the biggest no-no in the world:  leftover antibiotics belonging to someone else (because why the heck not at this point).

After all that, I’m still alive!  Not sure if I want to be at this point but nevertheless I am alive.

And still sick.

So I’ve come to the conclusion that the fates, the gods, the universe—-whatever—-is playing a really mean, cruel joke on this 39 year old, allowing me a taste of growing older.  Chiding me for believing my forties will be fabulous and thinking the best is yet to come.  No, no, no, I don’t believe that at all. I have come to the conclusion that incidentally a really tough virus got in my body at precisely the same time I had a birthday making me feel like it’s all downhill from here.  But it’s not.

I will overcome.  I am an overcomer.  I am ready to be done with this sickness, have a DO-OVER birthday and have the greatest year of my life.

Starting tomorrow, I hope.

The Chicken Chronicles: An Update and Addendum

The month of March is upon us and with that comes an anniversary. Or a birthday, rather. My chickens turn three years old. Happy, happy birthday girls!

It’s a landmark, a milestone, a big deal to have three-year old chickens. At least I thought it was until I googled the life expectancy of a chicken and found it to be 8-10 years for backyard hens and some have lived up to 20!!! What???? 20 years. I’ll be drawing medicare. Almost.  It’s only a big deal to be a commercial chicken and live three years.  Just chalk that up to my list entitled, I thought I did well, until I found out I didn’t.

Given that enlightening statistic, I am not doing so well with my backyard hens. I’m down to only 3. I know, I know. If you’ve been hanging around this blog for long you might remember I started with a lot more than three. More like 15. But you know, life happens. There have been accidental deaths, malicious deaths, unexplained deaths, and drownings. It’s been quite the ride.

And if you haven’t been hanging around here long, here’s the dealio.  These girls were raised in the house, yes you read that right, in the house! First in the bathtub of the extra bathroom then in the spare bedroom/office. A cardboard box served us well as a brooder until they were old enough to go outside. Looking back I realize I might have been a bit overprotective. They would sit on our hands and sit on the desk with me.  Looking back I realize I didn’t realize little chicks could put off so much dander.  Woowee, the dusting I did once they were outside.  Then as they got older, they were treated to earthworms bought from the bait store. I watched them grow from little fuzzy chicks to the awkward ugly teenagerish stage before they turned into hens.  They would fly on our laps, hide eggs willy nilly.  They learned to get along with the dogs or rather the dogs learned to get along with them.  One even hitched a ride with J-Dub to church and was walking around in the church parking lot.

These chickens have traveled with me, moving from Texas to New Mexico in the back of a truck because I couldn’t bear to part with them. They are dear to my heart. They have given me hours of enjoyment. Just the other day, I was throwing sticks for the dogs in the backyard and one of them attempted to fetch with them, running out behind them after the stick, hoping it was something a bit tastier, a Slim Jim perhaps. Of course I tried to get a video but by the time I ran to the house and grabbed the phone, everyone (dogs and chicken) had lost interest in my game.

These chickens are tough.  You have to be to live around here.  Just the other day I accidentally pelted one  in the head with a pine cone.  Pure accident.  Trust me, I didn’t miss my calling playing softball.

Recently we’ve been dealing with our new dog Ozzie, the chi-weenie, really giving the chickens fits. There is one hen in particular he likes to bully and we’ve taken to calling her mangled back because he literally will get on her and attempt to pluck her alive, leaving her down exposed. Her back is a mixture of yellow and white soft feathers. He is punished harshly when he is caught but he is proving himself to be a slow learner in regard to the chickens. I didn’t know what to do and I almost gave him away but J-Dub, seeing the distress it was causing me and EK both, built a portable chicken tractor/coop for the chickens. Before that, they roosted in an old well house but were free to come and go and roam as they pleased. With this new chicken coop on wheels they are enclosed constantly but safe from the terror of the chi-weenie.

I prefer them to be free range. They prefer to be free range. But it puts me at ease to know they are safe when I can’t watch them closely. Each day I  let them out to roam about and forage and I put the dog up.  All animals are treated equally.

J-Dub worked a long time on the chicken tractor and I am so happy with it. These contraptions range anywhere from a couple of hundred to thousands of dollars. We tried to be as economical as possible and also reuse things around the place. Upcycle if you will. We can actually call ourselves green now.

He bought the lumber new and built a 6 foot by 6 foot frame. He covered it all in wire, bolted  two wheels on the back (which may need replacing) and a handle on the front to push/pull/heave it around. There is a door to let the chickens in and out. On the back he built a box for them to nest in, equipped with their own little ladder to climb. The nesting box has a lid that opens up so I can reach in and get the eggs. He covered part of the top with tin and yes, he did, he added rain gutter which flows into the watering trough. On the opposite end is a feed trough with a trap door so I can dump hen scratch in easily.




And no, I don’t have trick chickens that lay oblong, funky shaped caps of some sort.  That’s just a decoy.  It worked.

Basically it’s a chicken dream house.  And I’m really getting the itch to stock it with some babies.